Avoiding cow's milk may alleviate chronic constipation in children

The idea that cow’s milk is an essential component of the diet for young children is one of the biggest nutritional myths. Decades of marketing by the dairy industry has convinced most parents in the U.S. that milk and cheese are indispensible for childhood health, but this is simply not true. Cow’s milk was designed by nature to be the perfect food for baby cows – not for human children.

Since allergy to cow’s milk has been postulated to cause of chronic constipation in children, a gastroenterology research team in Spain evaluated a cow’s milk-free (CM-free) diet as a therapeutic measure for this condition. Sixty-nine children suffering from chronic constipation underwent alternating periods of a CM-free diet followed by reintroduction of cow’s milk. During the first CM-free phase, 51% of the children showed improvements in their symptoms. After cow’s milk was reintroduced, 39% of children developed constipation and then improved during the second CM-free phase. The improved symptoms were not the simple result of a cow’s milk allergy in the children who were ‘responders’ to the CM-free diet – there is some other mechanism at work, which is yet to be discovered.1

As discussed in Disease Proof Your Child, several adverse health effects in children have been attributed to dairy products:

  • There is a strong correlation between early exposure to cow’s milk and type 1 diabetes in children.2-8
  • Early (12 months of age) dairy consumption is also associated with excess body fat in children.9
  • Milk consumption in teenagers is associated with acne.10-12
  • Childhood diets rich in dairy products are associated with cancer in adulthood.13
  • Additional conditions associated with cow’s milk consumption include allergies, Crohn’s disease, ear infections, heart attack, multiple sclerosis, and prostate cancer.14

These are serious concerns, especially when you consider the huge amount of dairy products that some children consume, regardless of whether a child is a ‘responder’ with respect to the digestive complaints associated with cow’s milk. Dairy foods may supply needed calcium in those not eating any vegetables, but when you use less dairy and more high-calcium plant foods, you get lots of anti-cancer nutrients in the bargain. The modest micronutrient content in dairy can’t compare to vegetables and is vastly outweighed by its calorie content and associated health risks. Less animal source products and more vegetables is the secret to an anti-cancer lifestyle, and not merely to resolve constipation.

 

References:

1. Irastorza, I., et al., Cow's-milk-free diet as a therapeutic option in childhood chronic constipation. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 2010. 51(2): p. 171-6.
2. Soltesz, G., Worldwide childhood type 1 diabetes epidemiology. Endocrinol Nutr, 2009. 56 Suppl 4: p. 53-5.
3. Dahl-Jorgensen, K., G. Joner, and K.F. Hanssen, Relationship between cows' milk consumption and incidence of IDDM in childhood. Diabetes Care, 1991. 14(11): p. 1081-3.
4. Savilahti, E., et al., Increased levels of cow's milk and beta-lactoglobulin antibodies in young children with newly diagnosed IDDM. The Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetes Care, 1993. 16(7): p. 984-9.
5. Virtanen, S.M., et al., Diet, cow's milk protein antibodies and the risk of IDDM in Finnish children. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetologia, 1994. 37(4): p. 381-7.
6. Kostraba, J.N., et al., Early exposure to cow's milk and solid foods in infancy, genetic predisposition, and risk of IDDM. Diabetes, 1993. 42(2): p. 288-95.
7. Gerstein, H.C., Cow's milk exposure and type I diabetes mellitus. A critical overview of the clinical literature. Diabetes Care, 1994. 17(1): p. 13-9.
8. Gerstein, H.C. and J. VanderMeulen, The relationship between cow's milk exposure and type 1 diabetes. Diabet Med, 1996. 13(1): p. 23-9.
9. Gunther, A.L., et al., Early protein intake and later obesity risk: which protein sources at which time points throughout infancy and childhood are important for body mass index and body fat percentage at 7 y of age? Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(6): p. 1765-72.
10. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., Milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2008. 58(5): p. 787-93.
11. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls. Dermatol Online J, 2006. 12(4): p. 1.
12. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2005. 52(2): p. 207-14.
13. van der Pols, J.C., et al., Childhood dairy intake and adult cancer risk: 65-y follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(6): p. 1722-9.
14. Fuhrman, J., Disease Proof Your Child. 2005, New York: St. Martin's Griffin.

Bok choy - nutrient dense and delicious!

Bok choy (or pak choi) is a relative of cabbage, scientifically named Brassica chinensis. It is most often associated with Chinese cuisine, and has been grown in China for over six thousand years. Today, bok choy is also grown in Europe, Canada, and the U.S, and is available almost year-round – it is said to be most tasty in the winter months.

Bok choy has crisp, white stalks and dark green leaves, and in Chinese its name means “white vegetable.” There are over twenty different varieties of bok choy – the two most common seen here in the U.S. are the traditional and “baby” or “Shanghai” bok choy – however, if you visit your local Asian market, you may see several more of these varieties.1-2

Bok choy provides abundant amounts of vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and calcium.3 A recent study detected 28 different polyphenols - antioxidant phytochemicals - in bok choy. Some of these were more concentrated in the leaves, and some in the stems.4 The most abundant polyphenol these scientists found in bok choy was kaempferol, a molecule shown to have anti-cancer properties.5 

Bok choy falls under the category of cruciferous vegetables, a family of especially nutrient-dense vegetables that contain unique anti-cancer compounds. Like all cruciferous vegetables, more cancer-preventive compounds are produced when bok choy is chopped before cooking. 

Bok choy is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, and it is uniquely beneficial for its calcium availability – bok choy is lower in oxalate, a substance that binds up calcium and prevents it from being absorbed, than most other leafy greens. 54% of the calcium in bok choy can be absorbed by the human body – compare this to 5% in spinach, a high oxalate vegetable, and 32% in milk. We can much more readily absorb calcium from bok choy than from dairy products.

Bok choy can be eaten raw in salads, green smoothies, or vegetable juices, or cooked in stir-fries, soups, or other vegetable dishes. 

 

Braised Bok Choy

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

8 baby bok choy or 3 regular bok choy

1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce

2 cups coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms

2 large cloves garlic, chopped, optional

1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, lightly toasted *

Instructions:

Cover bottom of large skillet with 1/2 inch water. Add bok choy (cut baby bok choy in half lengthwise or cut regular bok choy into chunks).

Drizzle with liquid aminos. Cover and cook on high heat until bok choy is tender, about 6 minutes.

Remove bok choy and add mushrooms and garlic to the liquid in the pan.

Simmer liquid until reduced to a glaze. Pour over bok choy. Top with toasted sesame seeds.

*Lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes, shaking pan frequently. 

 

 

References:

1. http://chinesefood.about.com/od/vegetablesrecipes/a/bokchoy.htm

2. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=3002

3. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2377/2?print=true

4. Harbaum B et al. Identification of flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids in pak choi varieties (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. communis) by HPLC-ESI-MSn and NMR and their quantification by HPLC-DAD. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 3;55(20):8251-60. Epub 2007 Sep 12.

5. Luo H et al. Kaempferol inhibits angiogenesis and VEGF expression through both HIF dependent and independent pathways in human ovarian cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(4):554-63.

 

Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids work together to reduce coronary calcification

Coronary artery calcification is essentially the beginning of bone formation – except it’s happening in the arteries.1-2 Sound scary? It is. Calcification is associated with a 3-4 fold increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.3 And strangely enough, those who have vascular calcification usually have low bone density or even osteoporosis4 – hard arteries and weak bones??

Previous studies had tested the effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) on the progression of arterial calcification, and they were found to be ineffective. These scientists were looking for another solution. Vitamin D deficiency is known to produce a risk of cardiovascular disease, but had not been investigated for effects on arterial calcification. Because of the protective effect of Vitamin D on both bone and cardiovascular tissues, scientists thought that Vitamin D might be a player in this complex interplay between bone precursors and blood vessel walls.

Subjects with no previous heart disease symptoms but a high coronary calcium score (CCS) were included in the study. They supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids  and sufficient Vitamin D3 to achieve greater than 50ng/ml serum levels of 25(OH) Vitamin D. The response of these subjects to these therapies varied 18 months later. About half saw a decrease in CCS, and about half experienced no change or a small increase in CCS. Also about half of the subjects experienced slowed atherosclerotic plaque growth.5

What do these results tell us? It is difficult to interpret these results because of the lack of a control (no treatment) group, but it definitely opens the door to more studies on the role of Vitamin D in coronary artery calcification. 

We also don’t know anything about the diets of the subjects of the study. A phytochemical-rich diet plus Vitamin D and omega-3 supplementation could have achieved dramatic improvements in calcium score!

For now, we can now tentatively add coronary calcification to the long list of detrimental consequences of Vitamin D deficiency. Our best protection against these consequences, in addition of course to a high nutrient diet, is a good Vitamin D supplement.

 

References:

1. Fitzpatrick LA et al. Endochondral bone formation in the heart: a possible mechanism of coronary calcification. Endocrinology. 2003 Jun;144(6):2214-9.

2. Aigner T et al. Expression of cartilage-specific markers in calcified and non-calcified

atherosclerotic lesions. Atherosclerosis. 2008 Jan;196(1):37-41. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

3. Rennenberg RJ et al. Vascular calcifications as a marker of increased cardiovascular risk: a meta-analysis. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2009;5(1):185-97. Epub 2009 Apr 8.

4. Hmamouchi I et al. Low bone mineral density is related to atherosclerosis in postmenopausal Moroccan women. BMC Public Health. 2009 Oct 14;9:388.

5. Davis W et al. Effect of a combined therapeutic approach of intensive lipid management, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, and increased serum 25 (OH) vitamin D on coronary calcium scores in asymptomatic adults. Am J Ther. 2009 Jul-Aug;16(4):326-32.

 

 

Important Key Factors Causing Osteoporosis

Diets too high in animal protein and low in vegetable protein: Meat and other high protein foods leave an acid residue in the blood that leads to bone dissolution. To neutralize this acid load, the body calls on its stores of calcium to provide basic calcium salts. Studies show that people with a high animal protein intake can develop a negative calcium balance, regardless of how much calcium is consumed. An important study demonstrated an increased bone loss and risk of hip fracture in those with a higher ratio of animal protein to vegetable protein. The researchers concluded that an increase in vegetable protein and a decrease in animal protein may decrease the risk of hip fractures in the elderly.1 The recommendations are clear: green vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds should be the major source of protein. It is important to note that later in life (after age 70), it is crucial to pay more attention to protein intake. At that point, both too much protein and too little protein are unfavorable to bone mass.2

High consumption of salt and/or caffeine: The consumption of large amounts of sodium and caffeine leads to unwanted excretion of calcium.3 Exactly how this works is not completely understood, but both salt and caffeine increase the rate at which blood is filtered through the kidney. The increased filtering pressure and flow compromise the kidney’s ability to return calcium supplies to the bloodstream.

Smoking:
Nicotine can interfere with hormonal messages to the kidneys, inhibiting calcium re-absorption. The combination of smoking and drinking coffee or soft drinks, together with the dietary factors mentioned, makes the prevalence of osteoporosis in this country quite understandable. Dietary, health, and lifestyle components are working together to cause this drain of calcium.

Vitamin D Deficiency: Recent research studies have corroborated the fact that most Americans are Vitamin D deficient. This deficiency occurred even among a majority of study subjects who were already taking a multivitamin with the standard 400 IUs of Vitamin D. More and more health authorities are recommending that an additional 400 to 800 IUs of Vitamin D be taken over and above the 400 typically present in a multiple vitamin.

Vitamin supplements: In high doses, Vitamin A (retinol) is associated with birth defects, and recent research suggests the dose that causes risk is much lower than previously thought. If Vitamin A is toxic to a person who is pregnant and potentially harmful to the developing baby, it can’t be good for us the rest of the time. Research has shown it is linked to calcium loss in the urine and osteoporosis. For example, an important study found that subjects with a Vitamin A intake in the range of 1.5 mg had double the hip fracture rate of those with an intake in the range of .5 mg. For every 1 mg increase in Vitamin A consumption, hip fracture rates increased by 68 percent.4 Most multivitamins contain about 5000 IUs of Vitamin A, which is equal to 1.5 mg. This means if you conform to the current recommendations, which have become outdated, and get your Vitamin A from supplements, you could be weakening your bones. Instead, the body can naturally self-fabricate Vitamin A by consuming beta-carotene and other carotenoids in real food. Vegetables such as carrots contain beta carotene, not Vitamin A, and the beta-carotene from vegetables does not lead to excessive Vitamin A formation or cause calcium loss.

Poor physical fitness: Our bones are continually dissolving old bone tissue and rebuilding new bone. Interestingly, our bone strength is directly proportional to our muscle strength. Bones, like muscles, respond to stress by becoming bigger and stronger, and, like muscles, bones weaken and literally shrink if not used. It is essential to exercise, and, in particular, to exercise the back. Studies have found that a back-strengthening exercise program can provide significant, long lasting protection against spinal fractures in women at risk for osteoporosis.5

 

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

1. Sellmeyer DE, Stone KL, Sebastian A, Cummings SR. A high ratio of dietary animal to vegetable protein increases the rate of bone loss and the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women. Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;73(1):118-122.

2. Devine A, Dick IM, Islam AF, Dhaliwal SS, Prince RL. Protein consumption is an important predictor of lower limb bone mass in elderly women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(6):1423-1428.

3. Teucher B, Fairweather-Tait S. Dietary sodium as a risk factor for osteoporosis: where is the evidence? Proc Nutr Soc. 2003;62(4):859-866. Rapuri PB, Gallagher JC, Kinyamu HK, Ryschon KL. Caffeine intake increases the rate of bone loss in elderly women and interacts with vitamin D receptor genotypes. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;74(5):694-700. Hallström H, Wolk A, Glynn A, Michaëlsson K. Coffee, tea and caffeine consumption in relation to osteoporotic fracture risk in a cohort of Swedish women. Osteoporos Int. 2006;17(7):1055-1064.

4. Whiting SJ, Lemke B. Excess retinol intake may explain the high incidence of osteoporosis in northern Europe. Nutr Rev 1999;57(6):192-195. Melhus H, Michaelson K, Kindmark A, et al. Excessive dietary intake of vitamin A is associated with reduced bone mineral density and increased risk of hip fracture. Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(10):770-778.

5. Sinaki M, Itoi E, Wahner HW, et al. Stronger back muscles reduce the incidence of vertebral fractures: a prospective 10 year follow-up of postmenopausal women. Bone. 2002;30(6):836-841.

Teens Not Drinking Enough Milk, Really?

New findings in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior claim teenagers cut back too much on dairy products as they reach their 20s. Experts followed 1,500 people, males and females, tracking their calcium intake during high school and after high school. Results showed many consumed less than the daily recommended level of calcium, leading researchers to recommend more milk at mealtime. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s take on all this:

Sounds like the dairy industry put their stamp on this one. It is amazing how successful they have been at marketing their product to nutritionally ignorant Americans. It is true that a diet comprised of animal foods, soft drinks and refined grains is deficient in calcium.

But cow's milk is the appropriate source of calcium for baby cows, not human teenagers. When we choose dairy instead of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds as our source of calcium source we help fuel a cancer epidemic.

When you get your calcium from fruits and vegetables you also get a full load of cancer-preventing phytochemicals.

Via HealthDay News.

Image credit: critic-1

Bone Fracture Risk Doubles After Obesity Surgery

Speaking at this year’s The Endocrine Society's annual meeting, scientists say bone fracture rate is higher among people who have underwent bariatric surgery. Researchers studied 90 people who had either vertical banded gastroplasty or biliopancreatic diversion. Seven years following their operation, 21 participants endured a total of 31 fractures. The risk for hand and foot fractures was the most elevated; Reuters explains.

Interestingly enough, in 2008 experts determined gastric bypass surgery caused bone loss, citing vitamin D and calcium deficiencies in individuals undergoing the procedure. Dr. Fuhrman lists depression and malnutrition as other harmful side-effects of weight-loss surgery.

Another report found people who underwent gastric surgery have a higher rate of suicide than the general population, but experts argue the surgery is not the reason why.

Image credit: *regenboog*

Low Vitamin D Makes it Hard to Think!

I need more vitamin D. I can’t think my way out of a paper bag. And now, new research in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry reveals insufficient levels of vitamin D are associated with cognitive impairments in older men. Experts studied over 3,000 European men, ages 40 to 79, and discovered participants with low vitamin D scored worse on thinking tests, compared to people with normal levels. The average vitamin D level was 63 nanomoles per liter, researchers say 90 to 140 is considered optimal; Reuters explains.

We neglect vitamin D. It’s important! Our bodies get vitamin D from sunshine. It acts like a hormone and tells our intestines to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Recently, lack of vitamin D has been linked to sudden cardiac death and even stunted growth. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo-Sun is designed to provide an optimal dose of vitamin D.

Whoa! Not getting enough vitamin D can be scary. Last week, a report showed insufficient vitamin D can make people demented and increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Eek!

Image credit: Alexbip

Vitamin D for Cancer Protection, Strong Bones and More!

Vitamin D is more effective than calcium for protecting and building bone, plus it powerfully protects against cancer. Too much calcium can actually interfere with the conversion of vitamin D into its biologically active form, but some extra calcium taken with the Vitamin D has been shown in studies to aid bone health. The main issue is that most people still take too much calcium and do not have adequate levels of vitamin D in their tissues and this places them at a dramatic increased risk of osteoporosis and other diseases. A multivitamin containing the RDA for D is simply not sufficient to bring blood levels up to the ideal range, especially as we age.

My recommended dosage of Vitamin D varies based on individual need, but my supplement Osteo-Sun is designed so most people will be in the ideal range from the intake of 3 per day, in addition to one's multivitamin. Some may require more and some may not need as much as 3, however, the amount that is right for you can best be determined by a blood test screening for vitamin D 25 hydroxy. Most people, over 80 percent, taking a typical multivitamin that contains 400 IUs of vitamin D are still deficient when tested.

I recommend that people take 2 of my Gentle Care Formula daily supplement, with 800 IUs of vitamin D, plus 3 of the Osteo-Sun. Then at some point, just to make sure the standard recommendation is right for you, have your vitamin D levels checked with a blood test. Then the supplement dose can be adjusted up or down depending on the results. Take one extra if your level is below 35 and take one less if your level is above 50.

My vitamin D supplement is designed to have most people fall in this ideal range, not too much and not too little. For those getting more daily sun exposure, generally, taking only 2 daily is adequate. Plus, it has silica for stronger bones, hair and nails! Osteo-Sun gives you the extra vitamin D you need and just the right levels of calcium and magnesium to maximize bone health. It comes in two formulas:

Osteo-Sun: Contains vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, derived from sheep wool and is the most potent and efficient form of vitamin D.

Osteo-Sun Vegan: Utilizes vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, a form of the vitamin which is obtained only from plant sources. Higher levels of vitamin D2 are used in this product to adjust for its lower hormonal activity. Even though it may have a shorter half life, in daily use, this higher dose, taken regularly, is just as effective.

Image credit: tassiesim

Inadequate Vitamin D Linked to High Pain Killer Use

Not getting enough vitamin D might turn you into a pill popper. Findings in the journal Pain Medicine reveal patients taking narcotic pain medication with inadequate levels of vitamin D were taking much higher doses, nearly double that of individuals with sufficient vitamin D. For the study, experts examined the vitamin D levels of 267 chronic pain patients. Scientists are encouraged by the results because vitamin D is inexpensive, readily available and improve overall quality of life; via ScienceDaily.

If you don’t know by now, vitamin D is derived from the sun. Our bodies convert ultraviolet rays into vitamin D which acts as a hormone and tells our system to absorption of calcium and phosphorus and sufficient vitamin D has been shown to ward off depression in the winter and prostate cancer.

So get outside and get your vitamin D, or else! In the past low vitamin D has been associated with multiple sclerosis, increased incidences of C-sections and sudden cardiac death.

 

Image credit: South Park Studios

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to C-Sections

According to a new study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism low vitamin D may increase the likelihood of having a Caesarean section. Researchers examined 253 births at a Boston hospital from 2005 to 2007 and determined women with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D were nearly 4 times more likely to have an emergency C-section than mothers with normal levels; The New York Times investigates.

Vitamin D is an important, but overlooked, nutrient. We get it from the sun. Our bodies convert ultraviolet rays into a chemical, which acts like a hormone, and tells our intestines to absorb more calcium and phosphorus. And other reports have associated vitamin D deficiency with hypertension, heart attacks, rickets and cancer. Dr. Fuhrman sells his own vitamin D supplement called Osteo–Sun.

I was born via C-section. But that’s because my horns and tail got stuck.